Thanks to a fast start, the excellent Bangalore weather,flatter course and support from numerous well-wishers I did my best ever 10Km run at the TCS Open 10K 4 weeks ago shaving over 2 minutes of my previous best time of 48:24 achieved at the Sunfeast 10K in 2009. Like last year Rahul and I (along with Ravi Venkatesam) took the bus to the Kanteerva stadium and reached there by 7:15 am or so just a few minutes after the men's World 10K was flagged off. The intent was to get a position near the gate opening into the stadium so as to start the race early and break away from the crowds. I got to the gate around 7:25am - where I met many familiar friends - Neera, Sid, Praveen, Pani, Ashok etc. I could not empty my bladder before getting nto the gate. I normally like to do that few minutes before starting a race and I thought this might impact my pace - however it completely went off my mind once I started running. The holding area became very crowded by about 7:45am. The women's world 10K started at 7:55am and soon after the gate to the stadium was opened. Like the last couple of years there was a lot of jostling and pushing to get to the start line. This is something that the organisers need to improve - the chance of someone getting hurt even before starting the race is quite high. Perhaps, they could plan for wave starts based on previous 10K finish times.
I started well covering the 1st Km in 4:21. While the pace dropped a bit subsequently I reached the half-way point at an average pace of 4:30 well within my target pace and I felt quite good. Around this time I went past Neera - who was cheered and encouraged by numerous runners. I was completely focused on the race and did not chit-chat with anyone. I also had water only once during the entire race - it helped that the Bangalore weather was fantastic with temperature in the low to mid 20s. I read about the Kenyans complaining of high humidity in next day's newspaper - I did not feel the humidity at all. As I entered the Cubbon Park stretch I knew that a sub 47 was comfortably achievable. I tried to push myself harder but had a minor stomach cramp in the last Km which constrained me. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to finish with a gun time of 46:06 and chip time of 45:57. This gave me a 4rth position in my age category and 144th rank overall among 5000+ finishers. Pani and Sid finished 1st and 3rd respectively. ANS started a See here for the split timings. Most runners improved their 10K timings this year including Chandru,Akshay and Rahul who all completed in very good timings.
Soon after finishing the race I collected the refreshments and my medal - this took me only a couple of minutes. However, later I found that thare was a very long queue for this and also a lot of chaos - this is another area where the event needs to improve significantly!
|With Rahul just after getting home|